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The Most Dangerous Cities in California: Why, and What You Should Know

California residents are no stranger to the topic of crime and danger, as many cities in California have a reputation of being busy, densely populated areas, which are sometimes affiliated with high crime rates. How much of this stigma is true, and should you worry about it? A recent article discussed the data and ranked the ten most-dangerous cities, adding data to the discussions and resulting in some surprising results. While the article focused on crime rates and property crime, it failed to take into consideration a few key data points, such as number of traffic accident fatalities.

The California "Dangerous Index"

First, the California cities shown on the index below obviously are home to many residents, but not all the cities are major towns. For example, of the most dangerous, according to this index, only Barstow, San Bernardino, and Santa Cruz are actually large communities. Emeryville, which is the most dangerous California city, is home to approximately 12,000 people; Red Bluff is home to approximately 14,000 people, and Commerce being home to only about 14,000. Also take into consideration what the study is measuring - property crime. Commerce, California is an industrial and shipping city, so there are hundreds of warehouses, so it makes sense that there would be more property crime there.

Consider Other Factors

The authors of this article were direct in saying their article was "infotainment," so it is not by any means meant to be a conclusive study. However, if you're wondering what other factors to consider about whether a city or region in California is safe or dangerous, crime rate, including violent crime, car accident rates, fatality rates for youth and adults, and other metrics should be taken into account. For example, consider that the total number of car accident deaths in a single year (2013) in Southern California were as follows: Los Angeles County, 630 traffic deaths; County of Orange, 185 traffic deaths; Riverside County, 225 traffic deaths; San Bernardino County, 264 traffic deaths; County of San Diego, 201 traffic deaths. When considering where to live in California, this statistic may be more insightful into the safety of an area than the rate of property crime.

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It is also important to remember that statistics often are over general. For example, in 2013, 32 percent of all drivers killed in a car crash in California tested positive for drugs, legal and illegal. So even if an area has a high number of traffic related deaths, it does not mean that area is necessarily inherently dangerous, because in many of the statistics, personal decisions were involved, such as the driver who ends up dying in a motor vehicle accident being the one who decided to take drugs or drive while under the influence of alcohol or prescription medicine. 

True Threats to Safety

When deciding where to visit or live in California, people serious about making the move or visit will obviously look at many factors. Of course violent crime is an important statistic to look at, but many California cities have low crime rates compared to similarly sized cities in other states or part of the country. Consider the number one cause of death of adolescents is unintentional injury, and in that category, traffic related crashes resulting in death are the number one cause of death. So whether or not an area is safe to drive in may be a bigger threat to your family's safety than the property crime rate. Of course, the more cars, the more car crashes, and the more injuries related to car crashes are likely to happen. Because California has so many residents living in many large cities, there are lots of traffic related deaths in these cities, such as Los Angeles, Orange County, and the Bay Area. 

 

Navigating Your Car Accident Whiplash Claim

Thousands of car accidents occur each day in California, and many people involved in these accidents are injured as a result. The most common injury that results from being involved in a car accident is whiplash. Although whiplash is the most common complaint by injured persons involved in car accidents, it is an often misunderstood and misdiagnosed injury. It is also the injury that the at-fault driver's insurance is most likely to dispute and refuse payment towards treatment for.

Whiplash is the most common injury following a rear end accident

Whiplash is the most common injury following a rear end accident

What is Whiplash?

Whiplash is essentially neck strain and sprain that occurs when a driver or passenger's head is violently jerked backwards or forwards as the result of a car crash. The neck muscles and ligaments are strained as a result of the collision. Severe whiplash may also include damage to discs in the cervical spine, torn and ruptured ligaments, and even fractures in the vertebrae. Whiplash can be a serious, life altering injury, however many people who suffer whiplash assume the pain will go away after a few days, and they fail to document their injury in a way that will enable them to recover from the defendant's insurance company.

Symptoms of Whiplash

Whiplash can take several days to set in, and the resulting pain can last for the rest of your life if you do not treat it appropriately. Here are a few symptoms to look for:

• Neck pain and stiffness

• Loss of range of motion in neck, back, and arms

• Headaches, especially those with dizziness and vomiting

• Tingling and numbness in arms and hands

• Pain in your arms, shoulders, neck and back

• Other symptoms may include ringing of the ears, blurred vision, memory and concentration difficulties and abnormalities, difficulty sleeping, moodiness and lack of patience, anxiety and depression.

An MRI of the cervical spine is often required in order to evaluate the severity of a whiplash inury

An MRI of the cervical spine is often required in order to evaluate the severity of a whiplash inury

Treatment for Whiplash

If you were injured in a car crash that resulted in whiplash, you were likely hit from behind, meaning you were not at fault and you will be able to pursue the other driver's insurance company to have your medical bills paid. Unfortunately, the insurance company will not simply believe that you are injured and write you a check. You must seek appropriate, reasonable medical treatment as soon as possible after the car crash. Your injury will be attributed to age, pre-existing conditions, degenerative conditions - really anything other than the car crash, if you do not seek proper treatment and the medical professional makes note that you were involved in a car crash.

Proper treatment usually involves visiting your primary care physician within a day or two after the crash. This is impossible for most people due to scheduling. You should visit the Emergency Room or Urgent Care facility as soon as possible if you cannot get an appointment with your primary care physician shortly after the crash. Fortunately, especially in Southern California and Orange County, there are an abundance of 24-hour Urgent Care facilities that are equipped with the proper staff to evaluate the severity of your injury.

What if You Can't Afford Medical Treatment?

You likely did not see the car crash coming, and you probably don't have a couple thousand dollars lying around just in case you need medical care following an accident. If you're like most people, you will benefit from consulting with an injury law firm in California that handles car crash cases. An established and reputable injury lawyer will know of doctors who will treat you on a lien. This means the attorney vouches for your case, and the doctor agrees to be paid out of the settlement, rather than being paid up front. This also means you may receive state of the art care at no up front cost to you. Fortunately, many facilities that accept car accident attorney liens are privately owned and operated, and are able to provide the very best medical care available.

How to Document Your Injury

The most important documentation comes from your doctor's office or hospital or urgent care. Thus, the most important step you can take towards better health and financial recovery for your injury claim is to visit a doctor immediately. Sometimes whiplash does not become painful for several days after an accident. If this is the case for you, you should still go to a doctor as soon as the pain becomes bothersome and persistent.

Pursuing Your Claim

If you or someone you know has been injured in a California car accident and is trying to recover physically and financially, contact The Lions Injury Lawyers today for a free consultation. The injury lawyers at The Lions are skilled and experienced in arguing on behalf of their clients to receive fair and reasonable compensation for car accident injuries like whiplash. The Lions main office is in Newport Beach, California, but the firm represents injured persons throughout the state of California. Call (949) 329-5000 today for a free consultation with an injury attorney.

 

 

Documenting Expenses for your Personal Injury Claim

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Costs add up quickly when you're trying to recover from an injury, from co-payments for doctors visits, to prescriptions and travel to and from medical facilities. If you were injured in an accident and it was not your fault, you are entitled to reimbursement for these expenses. Unfortunately, many claimants do not keep track of their expenses (bills), and so the defense insurance company is not obligated to pay for costs that are not appropriately documented. A few tips on how to organize your car accident injury-related bills may help you recover more money for your injury settlement.

Your Claim Comes Down To Documentation

Your injury attorney will be using your medical records and bills to prove the extent and severity of your injury. Your injury lawyer will also be using any bills you have to prove out of pocket expenses, such as receipts for travel expenses, receipts for prescriptions you fill at a pharmacy, and other expenses. If you missed work, for example, you cannot simply tell the at-fault insurance company you missed work and expect them to compensate you for your lost wages. You must provide proof of all lost income via pay stub or other documentation. This can be agitating and difficult, but the more aware you are of the process at the beginning, the better.

Start a File

Many individuals who are hurt in a California car accident are going through the experience for the first time. Unfamiliar with how insurance adjusters evaluate injury claims, they assume the best. This is not wise. Insurance adjusters are well-trained to minimize the amount they will pay for an injury claim. When possible, they will reduce the amount they will pay as low as they can. In order to prove lost income, or out of pocket expenses, you should start a file where you keep all documentation related to your injury. This includes photographs of the scene of the accident, all correspondence from the other driver, bills, medical records, and anything else your injury law firm might need in order to get you the most money for your injury settlement.

California Injury Claims

If you were injured in California, no matter whether it is in Southern California, the Inland Empire, or up north, the state insurance code provides insurance companies several "loopholes" through which they can deny payment. An experienced injury attorney in California will be well versed in the tactics used by insurance companies, and will be able to guide injured clients through the process. You should provide your attorney with all information related to the claim, but you should not provide the at-fault insurance company this information directly. There are many reasons for this, but the way you provide information to the insurance company can drastically affect the leverage you have to settle for a higher amount. 

How To Proceed With Your Injury Claim

First, you will be well served to consult with an experienced injury attorney or injury law firm. Consider all the things you likely do not know about how injury claims work. Also, remember that all insurance companies are for-profit corporations that make billions of dollars a year - their motivation is not to pay all your bills, it is to create a profitable business. Therefore, expect them to pay as little as possible to you to settle your claim. An attorney will give you the best chance of settling for fair value with the at-fault insurance company. Keep all documents and photographs, and do not simply mail them or email them to the at-fault insurance company. First, you should speak with an attorney and get a free consultation. This could literally save you tens of thousands of dollars, and a good attorney may be able to help you receive the best healthcare available without having to pay out of pocket. 

California Injury Attorneys

The Lions Injury Lawyers represent car crash victims throughout the state of California. We represent plaintiffs from San Diego, to Orange County, from Los Angeles, all the way up to San Francisco and beyond. Our office prides itself on achieving fair and reasonable settlements for our clients. If you're unsure where to go from here, an attorney is waiting to take your call and discuss your claim or case. You will never write us a check or have to pay out of pocket - our injury law firm works on a contingency fee basis, meaning there is no up front cost to you, and we take our fee as a percentage of what we win. If we don't win, we don't take any money or bill you. If you were injured in California and are looking to pay for your medical bills and be paid for your pain and suffering, call The Lions Injury Lawyers today for a free consultation.

Social Media and Injury Claims

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After a car accident, you may want to communicate with your friends and family to let them know what happened, maybe even share some photographs. For many people, posting on Facebook or Instagram is something they do without even thinking. However, prior to posting anything regarding your injury on social media, you should use caution and consider how your post may be used against you.

Say Nothing, Post Nothing

Perhaps it sounds hypersensitive to say that after a car accident in which you were injured, you should not post anything. After all, if the accident or car crash wasn't your fault, what is the harm in sharing what happened with your friends and loved ones? Isn't that what social media is for, and isn't it obvious you weren't at fault? Consider that even car collisions that fault and liability is usually easy to establish, such as a rear end accident, the at-fault insurance company's adjusters will not simply take your word for it, and are increasingly fighting liability on all claims. Your car accident claim is not a criminal case, so the familiar Miranda rights verbiage "anything you say can and will be used against you" does not exactly apply, but the spirit of the Miranda rights certainly does apply: everything you post, everything you say, can be manipulated by the other insurance company to diminish the amount of money they will pay to resolve your claim.

Set Your Accounts to "Private"

Even if you never post anything on social media regarding your injury, the insurance adjusters can still look at everything you've posted and create a narrative that there is nothing wrong with you. Is this legal, you might be asking yourself? Yes. If your social media accounts are open to the public, there is nothing to prevent an insurance agent from looking at your pages and taking screen shots. Many injury lawyers have seen in recent years a tendency for insurance adjusters to create a narrative, or story, about your life. Basically they will look at your photos and posts and come to the conclusion that you're fine and that you did not suffer serious injury. 

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Example Of Social Media Gone Wrong

For example, consider the case of a client who was injured in a car crash in Santa Ana, California. Despite being rear-ended (so it was clearly not her fault), and after she visited with her primary care physician at the local Hoag hospital, she slowly recovered through typical injury treatment of chiropractic care, physical therapy, and got two epidural injections to help alleviate her pain and facilitate recovery. During her recovery, as a student at Cal State Fullerton, she continued to take classes and work part time in an office on campus. Her treatment lasted about six months, during which she attended family birthday parties and went to Crystal Cove State Beach in Newport Beach with friends and her boyfriend. Sounds pretty normal for a college student.

When it came time to try to reach a resolution on her injury claim, the insurance adjuster denied payment and refused to pay her medical bills. Why? Because her social media posts on Facebook showed photos of her at the beach, at a few Cal State Fullerton athletic events (as a spectator, not participating), and at birthday parties. The insurance adjuster claimed "she seems pretty good to me, going to the beach, hanging out with her college friends at basketball games." You may ask what that has to do with this client's injury and medical bills. Of course, going to the beach has nothing to do with the client's injuries.

After her personal injury attorney at The Lions Injury Lawyers aggressively pursued her claim, the insurance company eventually paid all of her medical bills and paid her for her pain and suffering. This was only after her car accident attorney filed a lawsuit on her behalf in order to recover fair compensation on her behalf. Had this client marked her social media accounts to "private" the insurance company would not have been able to create a story that she was not injured based on her photos.

Getting A Fair Settlement For Your California Injury Claim

Social media is a new tool for insurance adjusters to use to diminish the value of your claim, or deny it altogether. Just because you were not at fault and sought proper medical treatment for your injuries does not mean you will be treated fairly. Often, consulting with an experienced personal injury attorney law firm that practices throughout California is the best way to get fair treatment from the insurance company. People injured in car crashes in Anaheim, Santa Ana, Fullerton, and throughout Orange County have turned to The Lions Injury Lawyers to get fair treatment by the insurance companies. The Lions Injury Lawyers represent injured plaintiffs throughout California, from San Diego County to the Inland Empire, up to Los Angeles and all the way 

Fall Weather Driving Hazards

Parts of California may enjoy some of the most predictably sunny weather in the country, but even minor changes can result in major safety hazards. An increased awareness of road conditions that can result in dangerous conditions may help you avoid an accident.

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Wet Roads

We all know that California cities often crawl to a stop during heavy rains, but most of the precipitation on the roads is not heavy rain, or rain at all. With daylight savings time approaching, the days feel shorter and many drivers will be making their morning commute in the dark. Condensation settles on the road heavier this time of year than most. Even cities in Southern California, like Los Angeles, Orange County (which includes major business hubs like Costa Mesa and Irvine), and all the way down to San Diego, experience higher levels of morning dew. Similar to black ice in colder climates (some parts of California of course to have black ice as well), dew can be unrecognizable and therefore even more dangerous. If you are driving in the morning or evening, consider there may be more condensation on the roads than you can see, making fast stops and high speeds dangerous. Every year, drivers are injured and killed in California car accidents that are the result of a driver not realizing slick conditions on the roadway. Slow down, give yourself more time to break, and remember that there's more water on the road than you see, even if it is in the form of dew or fog.

Fog

Similar to dew, fog becomes a safety issue this time of year, especially in coastal cities and mountainous areas. Fog presents many safety hazards, and is a more obvious dangerous condition than dew, as drivers can readily see their visibility is impaired. Don't use your bright beam headlights - it doesn't help and it makes the situation even more dangerous for other drivers. Drive slower, put your normal lights on, and give yourself plenty of time to get to and from your destination. Keep your foot on the brake, as fog can be more dense in some areas and significantly decrease vision. The California Highway Patrol responds to fog-related accidents resulting in injury and death every year at this time, sometimes single-car accidents where the driver becomes disoriented and crashes. Avoid crashing your car in fog by taking it slow and proceeding cautiously.

Pedestrians

Halloween is, of course, a time of great excitement and increased pedestrian traffic. It is not just the neighborhoods, either. Consider there are more people at the grocery store and shopping mall, and as happens during every holiday season, people preparing for holidays are often aloof and not paying attention. Auto versus pedestrian accidents often result in serious injury or death, as no person is a match for a moving automobile. Pedestrians bear responsibility too: if you are walking in areas that pedestrians share with cars, remember to keep your eyes up and stay off your cell phone. Drivers owe pedestrians a heightened level of care because they are driving heavy machinery that can be dangerous and deadly. Pedestrians too can help avoid accidents simply by paying attention and acknowledging they see drivers, and visa versa.

Darkness

Daylight savings time results in more darkness, especially in the early evening. You should drive more slowly in the dark, taking more time to get to your destination. Remember that visibility is decreased, meaning other cars, bicyclists, and pedestrians are more difficult to see. Drive slowly, and remember that your response time is diminished when it is dark outside.

Involved in a Fall Weather Car Accident or Injury?

For those unlucky enough to be injured in a car accident, or an auto versus pedestrian accident or slip and fall injury, the road to recovery can be challenging. Insurance companies are notoriously difficult to work with and even more difficult to get fair compensation for your losses. Speaking with an experience personal injury attorney may be advisable. If your injury wasn't your fault and you are wondering how you will pay for everything, a good injury law firm will be able to give you sound counsel regarding your options. The Lions Injury Lawyers help people throughout California bounce back after an accident. If you are wondering what to do and how you will recover, the attorneys at The Lions Injury Lawyers will be more than happy to give you a free case assessment, as well as recommend medical providers that may be willing to provide high quality healthcare at no cost up front.

Just a "Mild" Brain Injury?

If there's one thing a good injury attorney is accustomed to, it is the defense or insurance companies' insistence on minimizing the significance of an injury. What you may call a broken leg, they will call a "fracture to the lower extremity." Doesn't sound so bad, does it?  But why would an insurance adjuster do this? End of the day, it is all about money. The less severe, the less life-altering the injury, the less money the insurance company will pay for your injury. But how does this play out when your brain is involved?

Unlike with a broken leg, a brain injury can be hard to see, and for all except the most specialized medical professionals, difficult to diagnose and explain. Yet for the injured person, the affects of a brain injury can be devastating. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) is somewhat helpful in explaining what a brain injury is:

"A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury -or TBI-caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or by a hit to the body that causes the head and brain to move rapidly back and forth. This sudden movement can cause the brain to bounce around or twist in the skull, stretching and damaging the brain cells and creating chemical changes in the brain."

Southern California is home to millions of people, and many are driving to and from work and play throughout the day. With so many people relying on commuting on a daily basis, Southern California, particularly Orange County and Los Angeles County, is home to a large number of car accidents every day. Often times the injured person complains of symptoms commonly associated with car accidents, such as whiplash, soreness in the back and neck, and headaches. The last symptom, which can range from occasional head pain, to all encompassing and debilitating migraine headache, may be a TBI.

How will you know if you are just having a bad headache, or if you suffered a concussion or TBI? A visit with the appropriate medical professional is crucial. Usually, this means visiting your primary care physician, and then getting a referral to see a specialist. Sometimes, it can take a long time to see your primary care doctor. In this case, most law firms in California, especially in LA County and Orange County, are able to sign lien paperwork with certain doctors offices. This means the doctor will treat you, and you won't have to pay out of pocket. When your case closes, a portion of the money will go to pay for the doctor's bills. Because brain injuries can be severe and life-altering, an experience injury attorney will always make sure that access to the right doctor does not keep the client/patient from seeking appropriate care.

What Symptoms Should You Look For?

If you're worried you've experienced a concussion or TBI after a car accident (or any other type of impact that injured you), you should be aware of any of the following symptoms: headache, nausea, vomiting, vertigo (problems with balance), vision problems, fatigue, sensitivity to light and noise, numbness and a dazed or stunned sensation that reoccurs. Additionally, if you feel mentally "foggy" or slowed down, are having a difficulty concentrating and remembering, or are more forgetful and confused than normal, this may indicate that you suffered a brain injury. Emotionally, if you feel more irritable and sad than normal, or are more nervous that normal, you may have suffered a TBI. Finally, if your sleep patterns have altered, such as feeling drowsy when you normally wouldn't, are sleeping more or less than usual, and are having trouble falling asleep, these changes may indicate a brain injury.

What To Do Now?

If you suffer from any of the above-mentioned symptoms, most car accident attorneys will advise their clients to seek medical attention as soon as possible. If access to medical care is a challenge, your call to an injury attorney may make it possible for you to see the right doctor very soon, and not have to pay out of pocket. The Lions Injury Lawyers, P.C. has handled many brain injury cases for clients who have suffered concussions. When the client is unable to get appointments with their normal doctors, The Lions Injury Lawyers, P.C. are willing to sign lien paperwork so that its clients can receive immediate healthcare and not have to pay out of pocket. If you or someone you care about is concerned about a possible brain injury as the result of an accident or car crash, call the Lions Injury Lawyers, P.C. today. You will discuss your case with an attorney who has handled this type of cases, not a salesman. 

Car Accident Injuries - What's a 'Defense Medical Exam?'

If you were injured in a car accident and your case has proceeded to litigation, you may be required to attend what is called an 'independent medical examination,' or 'defense medical exam.' Under the laws of the State of California, a plaintiff can be required to undergo an examination by a doctor or the Defendant's choice.

Why Does The Plaintiff Have To Attend A 'Defense Medical Exam?'

If you were injured and are pursuing your claim against the at-fault party or driver (the defendant), you will of course be required to explain your injuries and provide documentation. The defendant does not have to take your word for it, even if you have hospital records, doctors office records, and other medical records that document your injuries. The law allows the defense or defendant to have an "independent" doctor evaluate the plaintiff. The idea is that the defense gets a chance to have an "objective" doctor evaluate the plaintiff. Most defense attorneys and the insurance companies they represent have strong biases against doctors who treat injury patients on a lien basis, so the "independent" medical examination supposedly levels the playing field. 

There's Nothing "Independent" About It

First thing to remember is that the defense and the insurance company they represent gets to choose the doctor. These doctors are well paid by the law firm/insurance company. When you're getting paid a lot of money by a law firm, with potentially a steady stream of work coming your way, you're likely to make an evaluation that your client (the law firm and insurance company) will like. For this reason, most California injury attorneys refer to these examinations as 'defense medical exams.' They are, after all, the defense's paid doctors making an evaluation of the plaintiff's injuries. Almost without exception, the defense medical examination results in a report that minimizes the plaintiff's injuries in the eyes of the 'independent' doctor.

What Does The Defense Medical Examination Include?

The doctor conducting the exam is instructed to evaluate injuries and make a report. Thus, the doctor will be looking into injuries involved in the claim. The examination cannot include diagnostic tests, or any procedure that is painful or intrusive. Also, the exam cannot be scheduled further than 75 miles from the Plaintiff's residence. The doctor cannot be from a different specialty than those injuries included in the complaint - that is, if the plaintiff is complaining of neck and back injuries, the doctor doing the defense medical examination must be practicing in that area of medicine. A good California injury attorney will be well versed in how to approach the defense medical examination, ensuring that the Plaintiff is not taken advantage of during the defense attorneys' doctor's exam, which could result in a report that could hurt the plaintiff's case. 

The Day of the Defense Examination

If you are required to attend an independent medical examination, don't go alone. You should attend the examination with your injury attorney, or with someone from the injury law firm's staff or choosing. Don't fill out any paperwork. Remember, you're not the doctor's patient. You're there only because the law requires you to attend. Thus, you're not required to fill out any forms. The office will push paperwork on you, but your attorney will dispense of this with ease. Also, remember that the doctor is employed by the other side's attorneys. He or she is not on your side, no matter how friendly or charismatic. Don't answer any questions you don't feel comfortable answering. Some California injury lawyers will allow the plaintiff to make a brief oral accounting of the accident and injuries, while others will not. Remember that the doctor will likely generate a report that downplays the significance and seriousness of your injuries. If you were injured in a car accident, for example, the doctor may say that the injuries were not likely the result of (or caused by) the car accident, but are 'degenerative in nature.' Your injury attorney will have seen this many times before and will know how to respond.

A Few More Things To Remember

The independent medical examination can be very useful for the other side. They may, in the end, have a report that says your injuries weren't caused by their client, or that your injuries are not that bad. If you were injured in a California car accident, for example, you may be well served by seeking the counsel and representation of an attorney whose practice focuses exclusively on injury claims. These attorneys are well versed in the tricks and tactics of defense firms, and are able to respond and protect your rights to recovery. 

The Lions Injury Lawyers, P.C. represent injured clients throughout the state of California. If you were injured and it wasn't your fault, an attorney at The Lions Injury Lawyers, P.C. will gladly evaluate your case and discuss your options. Unlike most car accident law firms in California, you will be speaking with an attorney, not a salesman. Contact The Lions today to discuss any questions you might have. The Lions Injury Lawyers, P.C. maintains its main office in Orange County, California, but represents California plaintiffs in Riverside, San Bernardino, Los Angeles, San Diego - the entire state of California. 

Who Pays Medical Bills After A Crash?

If you were injured in a car crash, you likely have medicals bills. And, given the high cost of healthcare in California, these bills are sometimes very high. For some, the cost of medical expenses can be daunting, and the unknown as to how and when they will be paid can be paralyzing. Understanding who pays and how can be helpful for those trying to figure out how to proceed after an injury accident.

What About Car Insurance?

In an ideal world, the driver who causes an accident has car insurance. If he injures someone, eventually his auto insurance will ideally pay for the medical expenses of the injured person. But what if his insurance only covers him for the California state minimum of $15,000 and the injured person's bills exceed $15,000? In that scenario, the injured person's insurance may come into play, if he or she is insured for more than the state minimum. Additionally, if there are other insurance policies that might cover the at-fault driver, such as a business or umbrella insurance policy, those insurance policies might also pay for the injured person's medical expenses.

And If Car Insurance Won't Pay?

It sounds unfair and unlawful, but car insurance companies are notorious for trying to avoid paying medical bills. For example, they may state that the car accident did not cause the injuries, and so they do not have to pay the bills. There's a sliver of truth to this, but the extent to which insurance agencies use this excuse is often ridiculous. Or, the insurance adjusters may state that the amount billed is too much, and so they will offer you the minimum amount for the medical treatment billed. Or, they may simply decide that some medical treatment is not necessary, was not properly prescribed, or the date of treatment was too far after the car accident and therefore not related. 

How To Get Your Bills Paid For

An experience car accident or injury attorney may be able to help you. The insurance companies are likely to deal more fairly with you if you are represented by an attorney, as politically incorrect as that sounds. An injury attorney knows the rules of the insurance code. Also, a good injury attorney in California will have heard the excuses for not paying before. Therefore, he or she will be in a much better position to fight back on your behalf. Also, consulting an injury attorney shortly after your car accident will likely benefit you by learning more about the claim and litigation process before you finish your medical treatment. You may be able to avoid falling into the traps the insurance companies expect you to fall into.

The Lions Injury Lawyers represent injured persons throughout California, including claimants living in San Bernardino County, Riverside County, San Diego County, Orange County, San Joaquin County, and Los Angeles County. Speak with an attorney, not a salesman.

Car Accidents 101: Call The Police?

If you've never been involved in a car accident, you are lucky. You're also probably unsure what to do if that dreaded day comes when you find yourself on the side of the road after an accident. One of the most common questions is whether you are required to call the police after a car accident. The most straightforward answer is no, you are not required by law to call the police after a car accident, although there are obvious circumstances when calling the police will be required, such as a serious accident where someone is injured.

Should You Call The Police?

If you're trying to decide whether to call the police, consider the ways in which a police report or traffic collision report might help you. For example, even if liability is straightforward (or you think it is), it is better to have the scene of the accident diagramed and explained by a uniformed officer than to rely on your memory. Also, even though you think the facts leading up to an accident or crash are beyond dispute, you never know what the other driver or drivers may say once they leave the scene. Unfortunately, many driver who cause accidents lie to their insurance agents because they don't want their insurance rates to rise. A police report will help explain what happened shortly after the accident and before the at-fault driver has the chance to worry about his or her insurance premiums rising.

What If The Police Do Not Arrive?

Sometimes, depending on the time of day, the police or highway patrol may not respond in a timely manner. Unfortunately, this happens during busy times, such as weekend evenings. However, it is still advisable to call the police and formally request that someone come out. A record of your telephone call will be taken, and your injury attorney may be able to get a copy of what was said on the telephone call. If the police or highway patrol never show up, at least you tried, and the copy of the report of you calling the police is likely to work in your favor if things become combative.

How Long Does It Take For Police To Respond?

Depending on where in California your accident happens, police may arrive within a few minutes, to a few hours after the crash. If you are in rural California and are far from a highway patrol vehicle or police station, you may have to wait. Or, if you are in a busy city, but the police are attending to more urgent matters, you may end up waiting too.

What Should I Do When I'm Waiting?

You should make sure you're safely off the roadway and out of harm's way. Do not play detective, but you should take photographs of the vehicles and the surrounding areas. If there are other people watching and you think liability may be an issue, you may want to get the contact information of these people, as they may be witnesses in the future. You should exchange insurance information with the other driver, if you feel it is safe to do so. It is not advisable to engage in lengthy conversation. Unfortunately, you don't know how the other driver will deal with the stress. Get his or her information if you feel safe doing so, and return to your car.

What If The Police Report Is Wrong?

Of the many things police officers and highway patrolman in California do right, writing detailed and accurate car accident reports is not always on the list. In fact, some officers in Orange County and Los Angeles County simply get it wrong - we see their erroneous reports frequently. We give them the benefit of the doubt, but the police report or traffic collision reports they write are sometimes misleading, inconclusive, or simply wrong. An experienced injury attorney will be accustomed to reading a California traffic incident report or a California police report, and will be able to address errors or misleading statements accordingly. And, if you were not at fault, an injury attorney who is good at his trade will be able to prove that you were not at fault. Some plaintiffs who have settled for large amounts of money almost never consulted with an attorney because they were afraid theirs was a lost case due to a faulty police report.

What Happens To A Police Report?

An experienced and successful California car accident attorney will put a police report or traffic collision report to good use. First, the attorney will usually get a copy of the report by submitting a formal request to the appropriate department. Then, his office will use it to argue on your behalf with the insurance company in order clear any disputes over liability. Finally, a good car accident attorney will use the report to show that you were injured and stated the same at the scene of the accident.

The Lions Injury Lawyers, P.C. represent injured plaintiffs throughout the state of California, including clients in Orange County, Los Angeles County, Riverside County, and San Bernardino County. Consultations with The Lions Injury Lawyers, P.C. are conducted by attorneys, not salesmen. You don't know what you don't know when it comes to dealing with a California car crash, and what you don't know can hurt your ability to recover. Call (949) 329-5000, or fill out this form to discuss your case today.

Your Injury Claim: Understanding Pre-Litigation and Litigation

The different terms to explain the varying stages of a personal injury case can be confusing and misleading. If you're wondering where your case is at present, and when it is likely to conclude, you may have heard the terms 'pre-litigation,' 'settlement,' and 'litigation.' But the difference between these terms may not be clear to you. This blog post will help explain the stages of a typical California injury claim.

Pre-Litigation

After an injured person contacts the at-fault party's insurance, a claim is opened, and the "case" is in the pre-litigation stage. Law firms and injury attorneys refer to your matter as a "case," but that does not mean that your matter is in court. In the pre-litigation stage, the parties exchange information freely and without guidance or regulation from the court. Lawyers are, of course, guided by ethics requirements of the State Bar of California, and insurance companies are required to act within the Insurance Code, but there is not judge or jury presiding over the process. This is important to understand because the claim is not on a timeline, meaning the pre-litigation process might last from as short as a day or a few days, to over a year. That's not to say there is no limit to how long it can last. In California, injured claimants are required to file their claim with the court within two years of the date of the accident. After two years, the claimant cannot claim recovery in court. In short, if you don't file a lawsuit in court within two years, you're not going to be able to recover financially for your loss, no matter how grave your injuries. This is called the Statute of Limitations. Again, in California, the Statute of Limitations is two (2) years. If you remember anything of the rules that govern your case, remember this: you must protect your right to recovery by filing a lawsuit in the appropriate court within two years of your loss.

Settlement

During the pre-litigation stage, the insurance company that insures the at-fault driver (the person who caused the accident) may offer to settle your claim. They may offer you whatever amount they determine is reasonable. There is no judge or jury to determine whether the offer is fair. For example, if you were injured in a car accident and broke your leg, you may have large medical bills, been out of work for some time, and unable to walk for months. But if the driver who hit you was insured by GEICO, you may get a call from a GEICO claims adjuster who says he wants to make it right and offer to settle. He may offer you $5 or $500, and tell you that all you have to do is sign a release and they'll give you a check that same day, no questions asked. Of course, that's a ridiculous amount of money for anyone with that kind of injury to settle for, but there are no parameters within which the insurance companies must offer a specified amount. If you accept, you cannot ask for more money in the future.

Because many people are unaware of how California injury claims work with insurance companies, many claimants assume that the small amount of money (say $500) is to cover immediate expenses, and more money is available in the future. This is not the case. Insurance companies do not incrementally distribute settlement money. Sometimes, they will simply send you a check that says on the bottom something to the effect of "for full and final settlement of his/her injury claim." If you cash the check, you're done: you cannot get more money in the future. Need more treatment? Expecting to have surgery soon? Rehabilitation therapy required? It will not matter, and you cannot recover more money at a later date. For this reason, all claimants should be exceedingly cautious when signing any documents with insurance companies, or cashing any checks. A short consultation with an injury attorney may save you a lot of money!

Settlement means you agree to accept money in exchange for waiving your right to future recovery. That is, the insurance company will give you a check, and by cashing that check, you agree not to sue their insured in court. If at a later date you feel that the amount of the settlement was not enough, you cannot file a lawsuit, and if you do, it is likely to be thrown out of court. If, however, you reach a fair and reasonable settlement within two years of the date of your California car accident, you do not need to file a lawsuit to get your money. A good California personal injury lawyer will make sure the insurance company issues the check and all the required paperwork is acceptable and in your best interest - all of this, of course, before the two year mark.

Litigation

If you are not able to reach a settlement agreement, litigation may be necessary. This means you file a lawsuit against the person who caused your injury. Sometimes this means filing a lawsuit against several different people or entities, such as a driver who was driving a work vehicle at the time of the accident - you would file a lawsuit against the individual and the entity he or she was working for. Filing a case in court can be tricky, and consulting with an injury attorney is highly advisable. 

Once the case is filed, attorneys on both sides will exchange information and paperwork regarding the case. Your case will be put on the court calendar, and a court date for your trial will be chosen. Due to high volume, court dates are often 18 months to over two years out. During that time, your attorney will work towards a fair and reasonable settlement. This means your case may never go to trial. From your perspective as a claimant, you won't have to go to court, and your attorney will handle the necessary paperwork. Nobody wants to go to court - not you, not the attorneys on the other side, and not the person who caused the accident.

Litigation can be costly for all parties involved, and if your case goes to trial, costs can rise quickly. Fortunately for plaintiffs, most injury attorneys cover all costs up front, meaning your case will go forward without you having to pay out of pocket. In the end, the costs come out of your award or settlement, but at least you don't have to pay out of pocket to seek fair compensation for your injury. Once litigation closes, you are likely to receive a check to compensate you for your losses, including payment towards your medical bills and money for your pain and suffering. This is assuming you win. An experience car accident attorney will be able to give you a good evaluation of your case and the likelihood of success.

If you were injured by the negligence of someone else, The Lions Injury Lawyers P.C. are eager to speak with you and discuss your claim. All consultations are free of charge. The Lions Injury Lawyers represent injured persons throughout the state of California, including residents of Orange County, Los Angeles County, San Bernardino and Riverside Counties, and San Diego County. To speak with a lawyer at The Lions Injury Lawyers, call (949) 329-5000, or visit their website at www.TheLionsLawyers.com to fill out information regarding your injury.